Here’s what you need to do after work today: find a quiet place, a good speaker and a cold drink (Aperol spritz, anyone?) and listen to any and/or all of the great new releases out today, May 17. Quarter two of 2019 is now well underway and delivering an absolutely stacked stream of great new releases, including these out on this glorious New Music Friday. It’s a big day for hip-hop with new albums from Tyler, The Creator and Megan Thee Stallion, and a great day to be a Carly Rae Jepsen fan. The National have a new album, and so do Alex Lahey and The Head and the Heart. Whatever your taste, there’s something flavorful out on May 17. Keep scrolling to hear all the week’s can’t-miss records.
1. Alex Lahey, The Best of Luck Club
Melbourne’s Alex Lahey is back with her sophomore LP, The Best of Luck Club, two years after releasing her debut, I Love You Like a Brother. The new songs find her rocking out just a little bit harder and slamming down just as many power-pop hooks. Lahey workshopped and wrote much of The Best of Luck Club in Nashville, where she was inspired by the dive bar scene and lack of “pretentious energy.” And lest we forget Lahey’s dynamite saxophone-playing, which is still tons of fun.
2. Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated
Following that “wish in the well” come true in 2012, 2015 became Carly Rae Jepsen’s moment, and Emotion the pop album to save them all. Now in her 30s, going on four years since then, Jepsen is perhaps even more the music media darling and pop culture mainstay. And while we’ve never really looked to her for lyrical profundity, she’s always been savvy when it comes to pure feelings, making her fourth LP Dedicated another beacon of emotional intelligence, and Jepsen a straight-A student of pop history. If the bar for Carly Rae Jepsen—and maybe even 2010s pop as a whole—is the intellectual pop perfection of Emotion, then Dedicated falls only a little short, landing somewhere between effortless earworm territory and therapeutic ecstasy.
3. The Head and the Heart, Living Mirage
Over the years, The Head and the Heart have transformed from indie-folk darlings to alternative radio regulars, and their new album Living Mirage sees the Seattle-based band furthering the latter interest. These songs are bigger and more decorated than any they’ve released before. “In my mind, the songs on this album are vignettes,” vocalist Jonathan Russell says. “Like ‘Brenda’ reminds me of when you’re a teenager at a house party. You’re surrounded by noise—‘What am I doing here?’—and a ray of light comes down and you notice this person. You’re like, ‘Maybe I will stay.’ These songs feel honest.”
4. Institute, Readjusting the Locks
Institute’s third studio album follows the big “adjustment” of moving across the country. Half the band left Texas for New York and Readjusting the Locks was written split between the two places. They manage to cram a lot of noise and ideas into just 29 minutes and 13 songs, proving Institute don’t need a lot of time to make a grand statement: “We are stubborn, despite what we’ve preached our entire existence,” writes vocalist Moses Brown. “We do not possess the ability to create a truly just and sustainable “utopia” on this earth – nor do we have the time to reassess the future currently in store for us – thus humanity will perpetually be “READJUSTING THE LOCKS” of our existential crisis in order to socially manage a decline into absolution (as has proven to be the path of least resistance)….”
5. Interpol, A Fine Mess
Interpol have followed their 2018 LP Marauder with a bite-sized EP, A Fine Mess, which finally locks fan favorite live track “Real Life” into a recorded entity. If you like Interpol, chances are you’ll like this EP, writes our critic. Encompassing five tracks, A Fine Mess arrives as Interpol continue their international tour, serving up material old and new.
6. Lucette, Deluxe Hotel Room
Canadian roots-fusion musician Lauren Gillis has released her second album under the name Lucette, Deluxe Hotel Room, following her 2014 debut Black Is the Color. Produced by Sturgill Simpson, Deluxe Hotel Room finds Gillis diving deeper into an indie-pop sound. Perhaps more than anything, it’s a colorful collection of soundscapes and a perfect mood album.
7. Megan Thee Stallion, Fever
It’s been less than two weeks since Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion teased a new forthcoming project, Fever, which is out now and features both Juicy J and Da Baby and a whole lot of attitude on Megan’s (née Megan Pete) part. If you don’t know the name Megan Thee Stallion, you will soon: she’s one of the fastest rising rappers and finds herself rooted in a pop culture moment that’s all about the yeehaw agenda, country-trap and sex-positive messaging. Fever is just as heated as it sounds and should definitely be in your rotation of new records today.
8. Sam Cohen, The Future Is Still Ringing In My Ears
The Future Is Still Ringing In My Ears is the second solo LP from Sam Cohen, a producer, musician and songwriter currently on tour with Kevin Morby. Cohen has previously worked as a producer on records for artists like Morby and Benjamin Booker, but after getting busy with other projects, bands and kids (he has two now), Cohen almost never made a follow-up to his 2015 debut Cool It. In a lucky twist of fate, he found a fan in Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, who signed Cohen to his 30th Century Records label and encouraged the ultimate existence of The Future Is Still Ringing In My Ears. The resulting record is an enjoyably psychedelic listening experience with equal parts humor and darkness.
9. The National, I Am Easy To Find
The National’s eighth studio album I Am Easy To Find arrives today with a Mike Mills-directed short film starring Alicia Vikander. It’s exciting to hear (and see) the veteran rock band taking on art from a more holistic angle following their 2017 album, Sleep Well Beast. This time, Matt Berninger, the Dessner brothers and company welcome artists like Sharon Van Etten, Mina Tindle and Kate Stables, plus around 70 other studio musicians, into the fold, making I Am Easy To Find a hell of a group effort. Our critic writes that it could be their best album ever.
10. Tyler, The Creator, IGOR
Tyler, The Creator loves to tease. He was updating his YouTube page with short clips for weeks before finally announcing on May 6 his Flower Boy follow-up was imminent. He’s kept super busy since his critically acclaimed steamroller arrived in 2017: He contributed to the soundtrack of The Grinch remake, dropped a bunch of loosies and did some production on Solange’s When I Get Home. IGOR features a host of all-star collaborators including Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti and Smith Westerns’ Cullen Omor. Welcome back, Tyler—you were never really gone, but we still missed you.